Monday, September 06, 2010

Forget about oil: We're running out of URANIUM!

"Let's all build a whole lot of nuclear plants," we are constantly being told, "so that when we run out of oil, we'll still have electricity made from nuclear power!" But apparently there's just one major thing wrong with that fantasy scenario (aside, of course, from the fact that nuclear reactors keep on generating deadly nuclear waste). According to a report from the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of Florida
, we are probably going to run out of uranium even before we run out of oil.

A recent article in the Deccan Chronicle entitled "Uranium reserves to be over by 2050," stated that we're rapidly running out of uranium as well as oil. "Energy experts warn that an acute shortage of uranium is going to hit the nuclear energy industry. Dr Yogi Goswami, co-director of the Clean Energy Research Centre at the University of Florida warns that 'the proven reserves of uranium will last less than 30 years. Current nuclear plants consume around 67,000 tons of high-grade uranium per year. With present uranium deposits in the planet having been estimated at 4-5 million tons, this means the present resources would last 42 years.'"

According to Dan Kinch of, however, this estimate seems overly optimistic. An article in the MIT Technology Review has stated that there is now a mismatch between uranium supply and its usage of some 25,000 tons a year, and that this shortage has only been compensated for by reprocessing weapons and re-enriching uranium. "Michael Dittmar, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, predicted that real shortages could hit the industry by 2013."

Wow. Just wow!

When I was a little girl back in the 1950s, I used to have nightmares that my town was being wiped off the map by evil nuclear bad guys who dropped a bomb on San Francisco (I lived in Millbrae, right next to the SF airport). The nightmare was always the same. I was innocently eating lunch in the Green Hills elementary school cafeteria and when I looked out through the window, there was nothing to see but a blinding white light -- and that light would be the last thing I would ever remember, as I instantly melted down into shadow and ash.

But now the human race has apparently been given another chance. Now, if our leaders can only use whatever brains they were born with and refrain from blowing up the world for another three tor ten or 42 years, I will stop having nightmares about being melted to death by nuclear bombs -- because there will be no more uranium to make them with! Yay! Hallelujah! There might even still be a chance that I will be able to peacefully die of old age in my bed!

If mankind is too stupid to save itself from itself, then perhaps nature will be doing it for us. Yay!